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The 2 Visions

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Design Derby exhibition in Rotterdam is a friendly (or not) competition between Dutch and Belgian designs. It is presented as a playful and colorful route where, in chronological order, designed items are paired up for the viewer to compare the contrast between them. Some of them are not iconic (one of the works exhibited is even a student work from 2014) but I chose a rather famous pair (or pairs). I chose to write about the famous (or infamous) hoof-Tabi shoes by Belgian designer Martin Margiela and the Iron Lady shoes by Dutch designer and shoemaker Jan Jansen.


I have chosen these pairs of shoes because they stood out to me as interesting takes on what is beautiful, what to wear. They both have unusual and innovative designs with a strong vision. They have visual, emotional and conceptual impact, but they are also quite different.

Martin Margiela (born 1957 in Genk, Belgium) studied in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and graduated in 1979. He is known for his avant-garde designs that break rules of aesthetics and are often with extreme proportions and deconstructed appearances. He has worked for luxury fashion houses such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Hermes before opening his own brand.

Margiela is continuing the work of Japanese avangardists such as Rei Kawakubo (Comme Des Garcons) which was started in 1980. This movement rebels against  the luxury fashion world with it’s unusual designs who challenge viewers to reconsider their ideas on clothing and beauty among others. Margiela often makes use of the post modern architectural concept of deconstruction. Deconstruction is characterized by fragmentation and distorted sharp shapes. It displays interest in manipulating the surface of the structure. Visually, these structures are characterized by unpredictability and a sense of “controlled chaos”.


He has maintained a low personal profile and was rarely photographed, staying behind the scenes of his fashion shows. Perhaps due to the hectic nature of the fashion industry, he has resigned in 2009.

His creation from 1989, the Tabi shoes, were inspired by the Japanese shoes of the same name that have a characteristic appearance similar to cattle feet. They are almost anti-aesthetic and opposite to traditional femininity. Although they are sometimes heeled, they can be quite repulsive at first glance. The first thought of visually pleasing high heels are not of ones that are completely closed off, with bulging seams and a shape similar to a camel’s hoof. The silhouette has become a classic for the Margiela brand and it has been reconstructed and revamped many times. The designs are often gritty and minimalistic, the most radical example is perhaps the version of the Tabis that is sold only as a sole and includes clear masking tape to connect it to the foot. The design is aligned with Margiela’s asexual and deconstructed esthetic.

Martin Magiela • Tabis Shoe

Jan Jansen is a Dutch shoe designer and maker, born 1941 in Nijmegen. He has been fascinated with shoe making from a young age, as his father was manager of the children’s shoe factory Nimco. He interned in a shoe factory in Brabant and took evening drawing lessons in the art academy of Eindhoven. Jansen studied shoe making further in Waalwijk and Rome. He has several shops in the Netherlands, including one on Rokin street in Amsterdam. His designs are extravagant and colorful, but maintain a certain classic appeal. Jansen says he’s not concerned with trends and market forces, and he mostly makes what he thinks himself beautiful.


Unlike Margiela’s Tabis, The Iron Lady shoes are extravagant. They are propelled by an exaggerated heel made of bent metal at the back and a pedestal-like piece of metal in front that seems to leave the wearer in mid-air. Two intertwined prominent straps connect it to the foot in a compelling illustrative way. The classic femme fatale red is on display, with a suggestive upside down heart shape in the front. Perhaps Jansen inspiration, his wife, and his love of timeless classic design which focuses on beauty contribute to his design aesthetic which is often colourful and full of lyrical and aesthetically pleasing organic shapes. They have an abundance of detail that keeps the viewer looking. While Margiela’s shoes and general design esthetic is a commentary on the high fashion luxury world that he perhaps reluctantly belongs to, Jansen’s design are not interested in trends. Not many people would wear them, but they are purely esthetic.

I don’t know what these two particular designers say about their respective nationalities, and do they fit the bill of Dutch and Belgian design. I’m not sure people’s esthetic and artistic integrity can be narrowed down in that way, especially in our time when each artist wishes to express him or herself and create something completely new. But it is definitely interesting to look at these two completely different takes on wearable art.

Tabula Rasa

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

rei-kawakubo copyConstant_Nieuwenhuijs_(1974)


1. Rei Kawabuko


Rei Kawakubo is a Japanese fashion designer. She first studied fine arts and literature at Keio university but then later thaught herself how to design and started making clothes under the label Comme des Garcons. In 1973 she incorporated it as a company. Soon Comme des Garcons became a label preferred by the Avant-garde. Kawakubo designes clothes with a modus operandi more familiar to conceptual art than to fashion.



Rei Kawakubo
and Yohji Yamamoto,


During the 1980s, her garments were primarily in black, dark grey or white but later more colors were added. The materials were often draped around the body and featured frayed, unfinished edges along with holes and a general asymmetrical shapes. Comme des Garcons is often referred as anti-fashion with their austere, deconstructed garments and the focus is more on the three-dimensionality of shapes and not so much on the surface and finish. By all these means Kawakubos designs challenges the traditional notions of beauty in fashion.


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Rei Kawabuko,


In 1997 the spring/summer collection was an ironic commentary on female vanity and advertisements for cleavage enhancing bras and figure sculpting thights. These designs suggest that the mind no longer need to submit itself to the dictates of conventional notions of beauty, but it is free to find it where it will. Also that beauty may not reside in the places what our culture suggests but more in our own imagination.


What is beautiful doesn’t have to be pretty

Rei Kawakubo


Working together with other professionals like photographers and architects their approach in fashion is very collective. Kawakubo wants to be involved in all aspects of her business like photography, graphic design etc.



Rai Kawabuko


Ensemble is a top and a skirt from collection Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body. It is made of cheesecloth stapled together in layers of pattern sections. The sculptural silhouette and the complex piling reflects Japanese ideas about the garment, which is seen as a construction in space. Here the garment is an autonomous sculptural object and it is no longer dependent on the shape of the human body.

This garment was part of a exhibition in Booijmans museum under a theme: Tabula Rasa. I think Kawakubos design fits quite well to the theme because she has been quite groundbreaking in her field by challenging the traditional idea of beauty in fashion.


2. Constant Nieuwenhuys


Constant Nieuwenhuys (1920 Amsterdam – 2005 Utrecht), also known as Constant is dutch. He is a painter but he touched other fields such as sculpture, music and, what interests us, theory and architecture.

His brother Jan Nieuwenhuys, who was born a year after him also became
an artist and their paths are closely related as they founded together with Corneille, Asger Jorn, Karel Appel and others the Experimentele Groep in Holland in 1948. It is important to mention that all those people then took part to the CoBrA movement which we all know and which was a period when Constant painted a lot and a lot of beautiful paintings.



Constant Nieuwenhuys
Maskierte Ungehorsamkeit


Constant took part to the theorizing of CoBrA. In Wikipedia I found his theory resumed to six points, I translate it here.


– Realism is the negation of reality
– Who denies hapiness on Earth denies Art
– No good painting without great pleasure
– Civilization admits the beautiful to excuse the ugly
– The best painting is the one reason cannot admit
– Imagination is the way to know reality


After CoBrA, he briefly joined the revolutionary Art movement International Situationist (from 1958 to 1960), led by Guy Debord, between others. Asger Jorn was there as well. This part of his life is really important to understand his work New Babylone.

The International Situationists were influenced by Marxist thinking and wanted to end the class society and the merchandise dictatorship. Their thinking is well explained in the book Society of Spectacle Guy Debord wrote in 1967. Guy Debord is an important character to understand New Babylon because in 1956, he theorizes the Derive in his text La theorie de la derive.


One or several people experiencing the Derive are renouncing, for a laps of time more or less important, to the reasons to move and to act they generally know…

– Guy Debord, Theorie de la derive, 1956



Image used for the cover of one of
Society of Spectacle editions


New Babylone was supposed to be called Deriville. It is a utopian city in which the defaults of capitalism (and of society of spectacle) does not exist anymore. In this sens, it fits very well in the Tabula Rasa theme.



Constant NieuwenhuysNew Babylone


3. Tabula Rasa


Even though the history and works of Constant and Kawakubo aren’t similar, they work in different fields, different puposes and connections are hard to find, we see that in those both particular works, some interesting aspects can be joined.


The first aspect is the use of architecture thinking for works that are not only architectural. Kawakubo, in Ensemble, thinks the garment as a construction in space, which means that she works with the object but also with the void it creates. Ensemble is a garment created using architecture.

Constant tries to build an utopian city, he has no choice but using architecture (he also made some beautiful models of New Baby- lone). The sketch we are talking about can also be seen as a piece of Art because the city was never built, it was only a big project that, I think, even Constant himself did not think he would see become real. New Babylon is a piece of Art using architecture.


The second aspect is related to the idea of Tabula Rasa. As we saw, Constant relation to it is quite obvious, he wants to built a new city for a new kind of human. In other words start everything again.

Kawakubo, in her garment, tries to challenge our traditionnal idea of beauty and to find new aesthetic values. We saw in Ensemble that the garment becomes autonomous from the body form an can be seen as a sculpture too.



dis play

Friday, May 15, 2015


who inspires you?

she asked


I thought…


I thought then…

meet this person and get inspired

make a work out of this experience

she said

and so I met a fashion designer

young man

very pretty

he said that fashion is like a colouring book

we have certain outlines and we have to fill the ´surface´

and then he said a lot of other thing, too

and made me pay for his coffee

and then, biking through Albert Cuypstraat, I was thinking of the colouring books

and about what it is, that we are filing the given shape with







I love sport



Bronx NYC crew


nike just do it


keep calm and swag



clothing is a billboard

I understood

a display which is touching every single corner of our lives except the shower corner

and then I thought further what makes us want to proudly wear a company logo on our chests and how could we make a use of this display that we are constantly wearing

and then I did not know what to do for a while

and then I knew again

I made a plan to make a comfortable universal sweatshirt which will have a displaying function beside the warm keeping, protecting and covering one

what would I fill the surface with?

what surface?

I wondered

and so I bought a surface

blank, grey sweatshirt

I decided to make a use of the existing shape of the sweatshirt and challenge the idea of temporary and replaceable advertisement on it

but how?

I thought

Removable sleeves?

but how?

adding a zipper?

or a velcro?


and so I added a zipper on the sleeves and by doing so, I allowed the printed advertisement/ promotional element to be easily removed or replaced by another one

I made a list of small businesses that I really truly want to support and promote

I gathered the logos of all of them


2mala1 mala kopie


the print will come on the sleeves

I made another decision

but how?

screen print?


the screen print studio works on the base of appointments

you must discuss your idea with the screen print assistant first

then an appointment is made

attention: it sometimes lasts over two weeks

you start printing with the assistant

hopefully you can work independent later


yes costs…


I am not going to screen print my logos

what else can I do?

transfer print it

of course

I printed my logos onto a specially coated transfer paper

then they were applied onto textile under the heat press

and there it was

logos on my sleeves

I looked at the sweatshirt in my hands

I wanted to wear it immediately

and I did

and it felt good

but it did not feel good enough

so I took it off and looked again

and after some time I wrote down

70cm metal zipper standard + another sleeves + velcro pocket question mark

and then I went to Jan

and made another pair of sleeves


I put transparent, removable pockets on them

and I like them a lot

and then I looked again

they told me I have to look and reflect on my work during my process

so I did

I reflected

and I asked myself

what is it that I have now?

sweatshirt design?


and what else?

and then I started my analysis

see here: video



33 16

1 21






minding material

Monday, December 1, 2014

The exhibition The Future of Fashion Is Now [museum Boymans van Beuningen until January 2015] showed us an inspiring assortment of progressive designers with their newest techniques.

One of the many designers who participated in this exhibition was Iris van Herpen, who graduated at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Artez in Arnhem, the Netherlands. During her study she did an internship at Alexander McQueen in London and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. Later, she began designing shoes for United Nude. An intriguing aspect is that she sees herself as a combination of a fashion designer and designer.
Iris van Herpen describes her own work as fashion where norms have no value and are being discarded. For her, fashion is a combination of craftsmanship and innovative techniques. It’s those techniques that really fascinate me in her work. Personally, I got really intrigued by the unique combination of materials and the technique with magnets she used to create the metal dress with, in collaboration with Jolan Van der Wiel.
On the other hand, the idea of using unusual materials such as wood and synthetics for 3D printing and laser cutting which eventually can be transformed into –wearable or non wearable– fashion, was a true eye opener for me.


Inspired by this project, I have pictured my own body in a plastic vacuum. Since this wasn’t possible with the vacuum machine that is available in school because of its size, I did thorough research on the internet in order to be able to build my own vacuum machine with the help of my father. Firstly, I made a mold out of plaster so that I could ‘pull’ vacuum from a see-through body. The heat got spread by a heater. In this way, only a small surface could be heated and I had no control of how the pvc plate would react to this. The consequence was that the pvc was about to burst or left air bubbles behind.

vacuum_1_900 vacuum_2_900


In the beginning I was quite disappointed because it didn’t go the way I expected it to. On the other hand, these little imperfections in the body actually do give some added value to the work. Having control over  your material can be handy, but as soon as you lose this, interesting and unique things can happen. This reminded me of the magnets that have a will of their own in the project of Iris van Herpen en Jolan van der Wiel.


Her growing metal dress from immediately had an impact on me when I saw it from a small distance. The dress presented in the museum was one of her latest experiments. The 3D printed dress lay in a bath and grows with the help of fluoride liquid and magnets. To develop this dress she asked Jolan van der Wiel, a product designer, for help. Because of her urge to constantly apply new techniques, she frequently works together with other artists who specialize in the handling of these certain techniques. Jolan tries to forget the mundane things in his studio and to trust and make use of his imagination. Just like Iris van Herpen, he is fascinated by the working of different instruments that offer him a platform to his fantasy.

Iris van Herpen_ferroJurk Iris van herpen_FerroJurk 2

One of the instruments he uses are magnets. He creates a mixture of synthetic and metal that transforms by the help of magnets in order to create his own, unique chairs. The magnet grabbed Iris van Herpen’s attention, what resulted in a collaboration. Together, they developed a way to transform metal by using magnets so shoes and garments could be made from this. They used the same technique as Johan van der Wiel (graduated from Rietveld Academy’s

Designlab in 2011) did to design his chairs [x]. JvW_black-gravity-stool They made a basis mold, the form of the dress or shoe, and ornamented this with the synthetic magnet mixture. Subsequently, when the mold is solid, the magnets continue to do their job. They determine how the form eventually will look like. The attracted force designs the shape and after that the plastic hardens whereby the form stays permanent. In this way, thousands of divergent forms can originate and every product has a truly unique aspect.


They practiced this technique in real life situation in the Boijmans museum. Underneath the 3D printed dress, different magnets are hidden. Above the dress, the fluoride liquid drops down, falling on the dress. Through the magnets, the liquid sticks which makes the dress grow layer by layer. Therefore the name ‘growing dress’.

SONY DSC images-5

Furthermore, without the fluoride liquid, the dress is made out of synthetic that is 3D printed. This is a technique that we continually see coming back in her designs. A 3D printer is a device that creates arbitrary three-dimensional objects based on digital drawings. The material that is used builds up layer per layer, such as the Ferro fluid process. With this technique, Iris van Herpen is able to accomplish sculptures that are impossible to make by hand.


Next to the 3D printer she also makes use of a lasercut machine. This machine makes it possible to cut or engrave different patterns out of different materials. These patterns are being outlined on a computer program like Illustrator and Autocat. I recently used this technique as well. The only thing is that you need to have good knowledge of material. Is the material elastic, is it going to melt because of the heat?


The laser cut literally cuts the pattern or the figures with a cropped laser. On the basis of the material you coordinate the data for the machine. How deep does the radius have to go? How fast? Is it supposed to go slower somewhere, for example in turns? I personally experienced this when doing material research for the making of my bodysuits. Some materials work a lot better than expected, others are being destroyed completely by the heat. Now I know that table foil is a perfect material to cut and ribbed cardboard is completely useless, while I expected the opposite.




Iris van Herpen and Rem D. Koolhaas, the face behind United Nude, both agree that the border between fashion and design is tremendously vague. Together, they try to make the impossible possible as not everything has to be easy. One of the first shoes they developed together is the ‘Iris van Herpen x United Nude 2.0’, a limited edition made out of patent leather. The big secret of the weirdly formed shoe is the balance between the heel that is curved to the front and the gravity. This shoe was a big challenge for the both of them, but also for the wearer. United Nude was founded with the idea of breaking the conventional rules of designing shoes. The rules don’t have to be broken, they just tried to simply ignore the rules. The higher the heel, the bigger the challenge.
Speaking of challenges, Iris doesn’t only pushes boundaries in the shoe world but also in the fashion world. Here, we also see that she applies techniques that are being used in the design world. She wants to experiment with material and shapes.
This is something I also try to do myself, processing unusual materials while keeping the pure visible. In photography, I try to apply as few Photoshop techniques as possible. In my opinion, Photoshop is only there to corrugate, like for example the contrast, a disrupting line or adapting a color. Thus, I made a triptych in which material is central. In front of the camera, someone held table foil, which actually did all the work for the photo. I could have Photoshopped a nice little effect, but for me it’s all about experimenting with different materials.


Iris van Herpen doesn’t like following the rules blindly and decently too, that’s why she doesn’t think wearability is important for fashion. Because of this reason, she is able to use materials like synthetic, metal and wood, that can be transformed and cut through the help of her favorite techniques, namely 3D printing and laser cutting.



Just like Iris, I like working with unusual materials, and that’s why her work has a definite impact on me. She inspired me to dare to use different materials and techniques and made me step out of my comfort zone. So the main difference between all the other shown designer pieces is that the Ferrofluiddress is not at all a static object but it is a growing piece of art. Iris isn’t only a traditional designer who only works in fashion, but an artist who converts her experimentation into wearable sculptures.


“I find beauty in the continual shaping of chaos, which clearly embodies the primordial power of nature’s performance”
–Iris van Herpen–


There is no future, we create the past.

Monday, December 1, 2014

3 During the visit at the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s, between all the dresses who can melt and the one who construct themselves there where an UFO. Three little canvas on the wall of a red room , hidden by a giant costume referencing to the solar system. These three pictures were the work of Phyllis Galembo, the sample of an all life research about the ritual costumes and masks in Africa and the African Diaspora. This work was specially interesting not by the subject or the strong visual effect who drop out of these images but because it’s presented in the exhibition -The future of fashion is now- How can we related the future of fashion and a research about traditional costumes in Africa, who exist from centuries? We can relate this question with the work of Pablo Picasso who has been influenced with the first exhibition of african’s sculptures and masks in France and revolution the art history, but now is it still accurate? What is interesting about these traditional costumes is that they construct a bridge through the past and the future, pieces of art who travel between the ages, but the future of our own civilization is to look back in the past of other’s one or to build our own, now.

1 2


Phyllis Galembo is an American artist, fine art photographer. Her work is now related from more than twenty-five years at the African masquerade and ritual clothing. her first travel to africa was in Nigeria in 1985 since she travel through the west and central africa and regularly to Haiti. She document with simple and sober portraits these ritual clothing/art pieces without adding any meanings, keeping them in there own environment. This is a really important part of her work because these costumes are already meaningful in a lot of different themes (religious ceremonies, secret society, rituals, spiritual meanings…) An other big part of her work is to create a relation with the members of the different tribes and then be able to be in contact with these sacred objects. Here we find another interesting relation with the exhibition at the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s. The relation between the creation of a new area for the fashion designer’s and the work of Phyllis, who don’t create a new idea of fashion but put in the podium an ancestral art. The attention of the spectator is fixed on the clothing on the pictures relate to the meaning of the exhibition and not the pictures themselves who are the work of the artist. The projector should’t be pointed on the creator of these art pieces, or is it the collaboration with the photographer who make them important for this theme -The future of fashion is now-


These pictures were presented in the section “The (re)definition of the human figure”. It was the topic who interested me the most in the exhibition and also the one that disappointed me the most. The theme is so large and for me unxploited at all. Only the work of Pyuupiru (Tokio) “Mercurius” and the “Akata Masquerade” from the american photographer was relevant, even if my only wants was to see in real the costumes on the pictures.
The african traditional masquerade costumes are for me a door for a mystical world and also a question about the definition of the human being. These costumes are more than a redefinition of the human figure but a way to escape totally this human aspect, physically and spiritually. And maybe lead us to this question, why i was interested by this part of the exhibition, What is it to be human, Just a concept, are we just animals or is it something spiritual that we should be aware of, or search for?

6 5

Burial of his former carrier

Sunday, November 30, 2014

From my visit to the exhibition ‘The Future of Fashion is now’ at Boijmans the installation from the artist CC stays strongest in my mind. It was a large installation where the main part was a wooden structure that reached the ceiling. The structure formed few shelves that were full of multicolored sculptural mountains. For me it clearly stood out from the tailor dummies and hanging cloths that were around.  On one side of the structure were hanging four lighted-up squares that showed a man’s face, hands and feet.




When I started to research CC as an artist I found out that he is formerly a hat designer. Known as Christophe Coppens or The Mad Hatter from the Country of Surreal Art and Comic Books, Belgium. CC is now living and working in Los Angeles.




His career as a hat designer started when he was only 21 years old. In May 2012 he decided to make an end to that career, he closed his business and became a full time artist after 21 years of designing. He had been producing art work together with the designing but came to the conclusion that he could no longer combine the two. As he said:

“You can’t be a good artist with the mentality of a fashion designer. And I didn’t succeed at being a part-time artist.”[x]

It was surely a hard decision for him but an important one as he didn’t want to get lost in the design world where he had to distinguish between how things should be and how they have to be. Staying there he couldn’t be himself and use all the creativity he bears.

Coppens started making the mountain sculptures one week before closing his business. The first mountain developed during a lesson he took from the ceramic artist Mister Hugo Meert. Soon he made another one and then more and more. Perhaps the mountain shape was natural for him when working with the ceramic after all these years of hat designing. Considering the shape of hats may often be compered to mountains. As he moved to Los Angeles all the mountains around the city and the different shades of colours during different day light had an effect on him. He could surely relate that beauty to his work.

The first mountains were made out of ceramic. Later he started using his old clothes to make the mountains after noticing that all his clothes were linked to the person he was before becoming a full-time artist. The clothes were literally costumes for the outwards person he showed in interviews as a hat designer. It wasn’t Christophe Coppens himself. It didn’t fit him anymore he said, figuratively speaking. He also used some of his old furniture for the sculptural mountains. It became some kind of capsule of his past.




His first exhibition after becoming ‘fulltime artist’ showed his mountain sculptures and was called Everything Is Local, Landscape part 1. It was exhibited in Boijmans Museum in Rotterdam [x]. It was an emotional landscape that kept a hold on to the past at the same time as it looked at the future with joy.

The exhibition immediately attracted a lot of attention, especially in his home country’s press. The Belgian magazine Standaard gave him three stars of five and published an article with the title: Hoedje af voor Coppens (Hats off for Coppens).

Later he made and showed the work called The Hills Are Alive: Landscape part 2. It was exhibited in Tokyo and was livelier than his first one. Full of mountains each with it’s own personality he related Landscape part 2 to the shops he used to have full of hats [x].

His installation for the exhibition ‘The Future of Fashion is now’ at Boijmans Museum in Rotterdam is a collection from both Landscape part 1 and Landscape part 2. There he puts together mountains from the two exhibitions making up the current exhibition that he calls Landscape part 3.

It’s interesting how the mountains are mounted on wooden stands that may be references to theater stages. I get the feeling that the stands help the mountains to reach higher and then not only physically but also mentally. It becomes more of a showpiece then something that could be practical, just as his hats.




All these years of hat designing might have been necessary for the work CC is making today. Now as he is using materials from his past and the memory of who he was before, recycling it to make new art. These are memories that he is ready to put aside but at the same time still wants to enjoy and keep in reach. Probably the lighted-up squares from Landscape Part 3 demonstrate this closure or some kind of a burial of his former carrier. The location of the squares indicates that the man is being crucified and the man is believably his own former identity. It therefore seems that CC is finally ready to say goodbye to his former identity as a hat designer, or what? Will we maybe see his resurrection in his next exhibition?


Tips from CC: Enjoy the present and wear sun screen [x],


The World in the Computer

Thursday, November 27, 2014


‘By presenting my designs not only physically but also digitally, new dimensions are created to strengthen the experience of fashion.’ (Jacob Kok)


The reason I chose Jacob Koks 3D work – evolution, (animated movie by himself and the software developer Autodesk), was because of the way it was presented  as a video made in a computer program. The use of media and what it allows you to do with gravity and form in this animated short film is for me very interesting and relevant for the art and design as it develops today.

I think the title of the exhibition “ The Future for Fashion is now” indicates that; we should use all our technologies and experiences we made so far, in the work of art and design today.  For me the technology that is created is not so far mentally reachable, as it may be for my grandmother, but still it has gone to a level of complexity that can be hard to follow for everybody.  I grew up in a generation where computers still was a “new” thing. but at the same time still very much existing. I grew up with laptops mobile phones , as an everyday- kind of object. It is therefore extremely relevant, to also include these kinds of objects in our art today.

In Jacob Koks – Evolution, he is working in this “second world“ where space limits and rules of gravity does not exist. He can play with shapes and fabric, as he likes. In the video shapes of clothing and body parts have it’s own rhythm, in the sense that it does not follow the natural movement pattern of what that kind of object, is supposed to do. The pictures is overlapping each other, making one shape or one figurative person floating over to another shape or person, creating a new walking, and idea about what clothing is and can be.
He started out with catwalk videos, mainly because he did not have the money to create collections and also to get them in production; he used his budget on the catwalk sample and didn’t have money to make more. He “crowed founded” his first collection, but he brought up a subject, for him and the rest of the fashion industry to work at.

That’s where he “reinvented himself as a designer” put in his own words, but he also questioned the very materialized fashion world, which I find very interesting. Making the fashion virtual he was not only manipulating with body shapes and fabric, but also he dematerializing clothing in fashion, by doing so. He was able to, in a very experimenting way, to expand himself as a designer in a digitally media, but also making himself able to save some money to make his art/fashion real.

A lot of catwalk clothings is only made for inspiration, which gives the designer a lot of money to spend, without selling /earning anything. I think in the use of digitally media in the fashion industry like Jacob Kok does it, is a big inspiration for other upcoming artist in this field.

Later on he cooperated with the Sims 3 Game, which also gives a whole other perspective to his work.

The Sims game is a virtual game where you create a world of your own. You simply make the figures by selecting their looks, from everything to eye colour, hairstyle, clothing, to personality interest and goals in life.


When you made your characters, you can buy a property and then you start building. There are limits for your house building, as it is in real life, so you have to be patient.  Your characters have to go to work to earn money; they have to be stimulated mentally with having friends, hobbies love life and carrier.

You have to fulfill these desires to collect points. In this way the game can go on and on. It does not end. This game has sold over ten million copies worldwide since 2009 release, making it one of the best selling games of all time.

I believe the game is so popular because it works with the simplicity of life, it is like a recipe for how a “normal” life can look like, and you are the controller. In a world where young people are so confused about all the choices they have to make. The Sims game actually makes the player successful, almost no matter what, and if not, just start over.

It’s a game for both girls and boys maybe even some adults, because it is reflecting our own way of living. Maybe even questioning, our way of living.

When Jacob Kok is using these references in his work,[x] it could associate with a feeling, for those who knows the game, that their have control over their looks and behaving and in the end, control over their life. The game is creating a feeling of being more successful as a person, in a world that can be very confusing to live in.

Of course other artist/designers has explored this area of what the digitally media can give us.

Wade Guyton is a post conceptual American artist [x] who makes digital paintings on canvas using scanners and digital technology, but there is also artist who specialize in digitally artworks, that also plays with this virtual external world which computer games is presenting.

David O’Reilly is an artist working in the field of 3D animation movies, he is known for the distinctive absurdity of his work. In his work “External world” He kind of gives an example of how the absurd the world is. The theme of the whole film could be how people are scared of things that are new and maybe more specific about how things are rejected, if others do not understand it. The film is criticizing a lot of things, also the fact that animation movie is allowed to present violence  without being taken serious.

The relation between the two artist, is both the media but also how they reach their audience, by creating a space with no rules, a space that have no end and a place where we can create and do whatever we want.

O’Reilly is seen as one of the leading 3D animation artist, which has like Jacob Kok, is dealing with the human role in the world, by using 3D animation.

Jacob Kok works both inside and outside the media, by using The Sims, and catwalk animation movies as (Paradise) he is not only interested in fashion, but also have a background an interest in animation. His start point was not to only work in one media he once thought he would make music videos, because he felt that he in his work was embracing more visuals and music together, than separate (you can easily see this affection in his work; official trailer for his spring/summer collection) He is uniting several of his own interests in fashion/animation/ music, to make a new perspective to fashion and his artworks.

O’Reilly is working as an artist in digital form, Jacob Kok works with fashion and design and needs real time to exist, were O’Reilly only works in the virtual world. He doesn’t claim his works, but put them on the Internet for everybody to enjoy. Which I think also is an interesting point. Jacob Kok is also using this method to expand his works, but not as absolute and clear as O’reilly does it.


Something that I also find really interesting, is when artist use more than one skill, the combination of interest and competence is inspirational, personal and very true as an artist.  I think both of these artists are connecting very convincing and beautifully, a personal and new, perspective in the fields of art/fashion/animation.


My Sofa Journey

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


What happens if you could take a nap when and wherever you want? Forrest Jessee designed the sleep suit(1), that makes it possible to sleep in your own cocoon, at work, school or at the streets. I wanted to challenge the idea of Jessee. So I went to the streets to experience it, not with clothing… but with a simple sofa.


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The sleep suit of Jessee immediately got my attention when I visited the exhibition “The future of fashion is now”. The shape in combination with the material its made of, creates an architectural form. It looks as a personal space, because of the thickness of the primary material, EVA foam, which is also used for padding and shock absorption in sports equipment. Usual fashion, in my opinion, is meant as a kind of jewelry for the body. Fashion, in common, plays with the form of the body, and is meant to be decoration. In this design the form of the body is almost not visual anymore. It adds something to the body, where it almost becomes a second body part. That in combination, with the daily environment, creates very interesting images (2,3).


Desk_675 (1)(2)

Steps_675 (1)(3)


The part where this piece is playing with his environment is the part that I wanted to experience by myself. I just moved to my new home in the centre of Amsterdam, as I found my new sofa in the streets of Amsterdam South. So I walked 5,2 km to my home with it. I had to take a lot of breaks, and interesting things happened that for me related to the ‘Sleep Suite’ of Jessee.

What I wanted to experience, is the interaction with me laying/relaxing/sitting/jumping at my sofa and the busy city life. A lot things happened on my way so…

I want you to share my ‘Sofa Journey’.





























After 4,5 hours



The experiences I’ve had this journey, I would never had without the sofa. The sofa became a medium to communicate with buildings, animals, trams and people. In the pictures I tried to play with the environment. For example, I saw a lot of buildings which had the same stripes above their windows as the stripes from the couch. I could involve in that way the couch with his surrounding(11,12). Also the stripes of the zebra path were interesting to combine with the sofa(14). The garbage that I found at the streets I also used to create a fake ‘living room atmosphere’, with the television, couch and ventilator(13).

Also the opposite situations were very interesting. Where the sofa was not palpitating the surrounding. A good example of it, is the picture where people looking strange at me sitting at my couch.(16) In the rest of the pictures there is also a lot of ‘miscommunication’ between me, relaxing at my sofa and the busy background. I enjoyed the journey a lot with me and my sofa, which is now settled in my appartement. It will always remember me of this day.

Are you the clothes you wear?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Every morning when I dress for school, I’m in doubt. I put something on and it’s again the same. I have a couple of outfits I wear a lot and that make me feel safe. Though, everytime I doubt whether it’s good enough. I’m in a school that calls itself an art school and it doesn’t feel like I’m a typical person that belongs in an art school, even though I don’t know if that kind of a person exists. Because of that I feel like I have to proof myself, as if I have to pretend that I’m someone else, wearing clothes that suit art school, but that suit don’t me. I feel too normal, too average, too ‘different’. Too boring. Even when the clothes I wear I really like and I feel comfortable in.

The strange thing is: there isn’t something like a dresscode for an art academy. Everyone wears what they like or what makes them feel good. So no one cares what you’re wearing. Although it feels like everyone has their own unique style, different from everyone, and maybe that could be the dresscode. Being as unique as possible. And if you see it like this, maybe I do fit in.

For me this proves that your identity is for a big part in the hands of the clothes you wear, prejudices exist and people pretend that they know who you are. You can deny that it is like this, and I’m sure that came across your mind, but I think everyone realizes that this is true. Even when you don’t really care about fashion or clothing, it says something about who you are, about your identity. It expresses your culture or subculture. The group you belong to. Fashion is the easiest way to express, to make a statement. And we do, all of us.



Beyond the Body, a perception of appearance and identity : video and publication 2012

Imme van der Haak is an artist who takes identity as an starting point. She says that fashion is, for her, the way to form your identity, to show yourself. But also and mostly to try and be someone else and experience how that is, to step in someones skin and mind. In that way you can undergo an metamorphosis and your clothes can function as an cocoon where in you can undergo that metamorphosis. Also without clothes there is an identity, in scars, hair, birthmarks and surgical adjustments. Our body is an product of nature and a product of science. There are tons of possibilities to give our body a certain form. In the end she says that even without clothes, fashion influences our body. This can come out in tattoos, piercings, the way we cut our hair, but also in the edit on photographs in fashion.



Configurations : Jewelry 2010

She makes works about changing the form of the body. This is shown the best in her work Elastic Mind, where she deforms her face and body with several tools, like elastics, balloons, tights, hairpins and treads. By this she does research to the form of the body, and tries to find new forms, that are not so normal but can be beautiful in a way. It was a research for a jewelry line she made, with really innovative and new jewelry. Also in her video work “Beyond the Body” shown in the exhibition The Future of Fashion is Now, a really beautiful and emotional video is shown, that makes us think about our own identity and how we express that. In the video two people are shown, covered by a transparent piece of fabric with the body of someone else printed on it, and by that they are given a second identity. The shape of the body changes because of the fabric and the picture, which is interesting and typical for Imme, like I said.


Elastic Mind : publication 2010


Another artist that works with deformation of the body as a research for defining identity is Jeanne Dunning. She did kind of similar things, like putting balloons under clothing and creating extra bodyparts, which you can compare to Imme’s work in the video, because there you see two people at a time and by that sometimes there are more arms or legs. She creates surrealistic images as a result, not as a research like Imme does.


Jeanne Dunning : in bed 2004

I think it’s an interesting subject to think about how easily you can change the way you look and by that your identity. You will be the same person from the inside, but a lot changes by how other people see you or how your look makes you feel. It’s something we are busy with everyday.


Why do we wear clothes

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Exhibition “The Future of Fashion is Now” gave me a chance to consider about clothes, itself. Especially, the work called “Clear” by Mary Ping was quite impressive for me. Even though there were so many works that were using transparent materials on their works, Mary Ping’s piece was special for me. Because I think that the others focused on showing decay and disappearing phenomenon, but Mary Ping’s work literally shows clear, and perfectly- transparent clothes and accessories.

The visual image of her piece reminds me of the classic tale, ”The Emperor’s New Clothes” written by Danish author Hans Christian Anderson. As you already know, the story is about an emperor who believes weaver’s lie that if clothes are made of some materials have a special effect, only those who are good at their job or are intelligent would be able see it. But at the end of story, children shouted the truth in front of emperor that he did not wear clothes. On the other hands, it also depicts the fact everyone was pretending like they could see the clothes and they even praised king’s naked body to king’s

wonderful clothes. the_emperors_new_clothes

From this tale, I found some fundamental features and reasons of clothes. For example, what is beautiful clothes( this question can be extended by, what is beauty), why do we have to wear clothes every single day, and why do we want to wear clothes. What is the function of clothes… and so on.

First of all, back to the original subject “clear”, Mary Ping says “Beauty reduced to the form, executed in transparent -and thus honest- material.”  I supposed there are so many kind of beauties in the worlds as much as there are so many people in existance. Also Beauty reflects so many components at the same time. Some of people thoughts beauty is one of the way to show their strong political and financial power to the others through colourful clothes, accessories, expensive decoration art works etc. Specifically the form of clothes were getting bigger, heavier and even really uncomfortable to show their power visually at that time and they thought that was most perfect clothes for them. In the same vein, the emperor in Anderson’s story wanted new clothes to exaggerate his power. Therefore sometimes i felt clothes seemed like a decoration paper to conceal and exaggerate myself. So Mary Ping’s piece makes me imagine that if everyone wear on this transparent clothes, they can be more honest than now. Because it can break the illusion by showing everything – natural body shape- without decoration.

Also It makes me feel like it has really natural, honest and variable form. Because this piece’s actual form is up to customer body. So it’s quite interesting process to observe changing of it’s form by different models.  I mean if someone who has really big belly wears it, the shape of  clothe looks like D-shaped clothes. Or if someone who is really thin wears that clothes, it looks like wearing space suit, because of empty space inside of the clothes. One more thing is , One of the other features of clothes reflects an identity. you can show your individual identity on your clothes. Clothes is really important way to show your identity and you can distinguish yourself from others by your unique clothes. And which components that i found interesting is we can see your own unique identity when you are wearing “Clear”piece.

slow and steady wins race image 1 20110915-SASWTR_SS2012-024

We usually tend to regard to show naked body as taboo and because of that reason, we need clothes to protect our body from other people’s attention. Ironically Mary Ping’s piece has totally opposite function compared to traditional clothes. However, I think its function is quite nice. Because as it looks like, it’s almost impossible to hide or exaggerate something in front of so many eyes. Because you always should be conscious of it.

Sensors and supervision

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The exhibition The Future of Fashion Is Now at the museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam features established and upcoming designers questioning and challenging the premises of contemporary fashion. One of the contributing designers is the canadian designer Ying Gao, who in her work Incertitudes used speech- and motion-activated sensors hidden within two white dresses covered with thousands of small needles, reminiscent of porcupine coats. The gestures and noises of a viewer or passerby forces the attached pins to move, transforming the garment as well as the contours of its wearer. In her description of the piece, Gao refers to the constant stress and uncertainty of modern day individuals, always flexible and ready to adapt to new situations.
Gao was participating in the section of the exhibition called Materiality and Experience, which makes perfect sense in consideration of her other works, also making use of innovative technological solutions. Besides Incertitudes, she has also investigated light-reactive electronic components, by creating coats that move depending on the intensity of a light source, such as a flashlight. Involving interactive techniques in fashion could bring a sense of dynamism to the concept of clothing. When permitting participation/interaction with surroundings and spectators, the pieces rapidly distinguish themselves from any garment that is delivered already “done”. Bypassing flatness and immobility, they become equipped with a quality of sensibility and refinement.



• Flexible Pressure Sensors • Incertitudes (close-up) by Ying Gao • Silver nano wire sensors • (Now)here (Now)here (close-up) by Ying Gao • Solar Powered Jacket by Tommy Hilfiger


Combining aesthetics with the latest technological developments is not always an uncomplicated process. Successful and sophisticated design of hi-tech clothing is still limited to a small number of fortunate tries. We slowly move away from the “ugliness” that usually haunt technical innovations in their early years. The industry could be seen as going through a process of normalization, where the feeling of the relatively unnecessary “tech gadget” is left behind.Designers experimenting with the new possibilities are however operating in an unexplored grey area somewhere between usefulness, beauty and supervision. When letting technology become autonomous and enabling it to take its own decisions, the designer releases control over the outcome. Reducing his or her position by introducing chance and fate will inevitably lead to new opportunities and new situations.
Although the integration of data-collecting sensors in fabric has a natural relevance for the innovative clothing designers, the use of such equipment will most likely not be restricted to the fashion industry only. This could mean infinite possibilities – the risk of abuse on civil liberties should be taken into consideration. What if the occurrence of intelligent fabrics was as widespread (but also overlooked) as surveillance cameras in public spaces? If biometric textile was put on the seats of public transport? Or misused, as if put on animals or plants? How would our experience of daily life change if speech- and motion reacting sensors were installed in supermarkets, shopping centers, cafés? If objects/garments changed with the impact of our mere presence?


research 2web2

• Infrared motion sensor burglar alarm • Digital persona Fingerprint reader • AR. 2.0 Parrot Model drone • System Azure Security Ornamentation by Jill Magid • Facial Weaponization Suit by Zach Blas


It is nowadays clear that smart wristbands (as well as watches, jewelry and other attachable items) tracking, measuring and analyzing the bearers every movement is a constantly growing industry. The technique of smart fabrics and integrated sensors in clothing is evolving equally rapid, thereby soon making the act of strapping on an external device unnecessary. By inserting sensors capable of tracking very precise information already in the fabrics, data on motion, size, location, force, weight or shape could easily be collected.
Technological monitoring of human movement is however nothing new. The first closed-circuit TV cameras (CCTV) came into use already in 1942 during the observation of a rocket launch in Peenemünde, Germany. Surveillance camera systems performing continuous video recording has been a common practice almost ever since. Among more recent developments are biometric recognition (face, fingerprints etc), aerial surveillance (helicopters, drones etc.) and naturally everything related to internet and social media. Could the integration of intelligent fabrics be a suitable addition to this process?


research 3web2

• Google Glasses • Ritot smart wristband • Flexible Skin Temperature Sensor • Necklace Projector • Smartphone


New wearable technology are in some aspects already being used as a means of self-control and self-reflection, as a way of eliminating chance and the unforeseen at any cost. The behavior could be linked to the ongoing obsession with observing and measuring the own body. Health, sport and the perfecting of ones physical appearance has gotten a new trendy twist with smart apparel, fitting quite well into the all-encompassing life project certain enthusiastic users are living by. Are we moving from an attitude of authoritarian respect from earlier times and into a slavery of self discipline and personal surveillance? From the all-seeing, omnipresent monitor to the individual supervising itself?
The existence of hidden, interactive sensors and reactive fabrics is undeniably a relevant topic – the potential is striking. Anyone curious in new means of communication could possibly avoid the advancement of smart textile in modern daily life, reaching us all within a very near future.

On a personal level, I ask myself if there could be some sort of spirituality to be found in this technology of supervision? Is there an empty space to be filled in secular societies, leading up to this voluntary self-surveillance through different types of apparel and other devices? The subject is fascinating both from an artistic point of view as well as a philosophical/ethical one. 


research 4web2


• Conan O'Brien tries Dream Weaver (video) • Chakra Balancing application • Deepak Chopras Dream Weaver • iPhone surveillance


How do we as individuals deal with the concept of spirituality, truth and privacy in the age of technology? The adaption to new conditions is unavoidable, but becomes more and more a matter of privileges.
The revelations on to what extent state supervision is currently practiced (Edward Snowden, NSA, Wikileaks) chocked a whole world and deepened the conflict with the established, monotheistic religions believing in the One and only God to monitor and judge all human action. Surveillance relates to different aspects of privacy, such as privacy of property, of space, of personality and of thought. Worthy of note is that not everyone has the economical means to question authoritarian demands on personal information, with the consequence of privacy possibly turning into a valuable property that only a select few can access.
New forms of spiritual practice and/or self-monitoring take shape with the aid of technological devices. Smartphone applications connected to health, higher power, meditation, zen etc. are immensely popular, offering a re-charging of the soul similar to the charging of batteries. When spiritual leaders such as Deepak Chopra releases biosensorical glasses promising relaxation and inner peace the merging of spirituality and technology is indisputably a fact. Are they all yet another expression of an egocentric, self-obsessed Western society or a useful tool to actually reconnect lost searchers of truth?
In any case, a space has opened up for an intimate, personal form of spirituality disconnected from the dogmas of organized religions whilst also distancing itself from sovereign state control. The idea of scientific knowledge as the superior way of accessing truth is once again questioned – and is it necessarily in opposition to all spiritual methods? To conclude: it is visible how technology/the visible and spirituality/the invisible intertwine and affect each other more and more in modern societies. This provides interesting opportunities for artists to question and investigate further, and I am certain that projects such as Ying Gaos is only a preview of what the future will hold.  


Red Carpet Culture

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

According to Oxford Dictionary, red carpet is ‘A long, narrow red carpet laid on the ground for a distinguished visitor to walk along when arriving.’ This dictionary also proposes one idiom related to the red carpet – red carpet treatment. This idiom is used ‘in reference to privileged treatment of a distinguished visitor.’ Viktor&Rolf’s Autumn/Winter 2014 collection meet that definition au pied de la lettre. This Amsterdam based duo literally made the dresses from the red carpet.




Viktor&Rolf took part in The Future of Fashion is Now exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam with two of their collections; Autumn/Winter 2013 aka Zen Garden collection [x] and Autumn/Winter 2014 aka collection executed entirely in red carpet. Although the Zen Garden one was broadly exhibited, the second collection made a bigger impression on me. Two white figurines with two dresses and two pair of shoes, all made from red carpet – that was it, quite decent display but perfectly contrasting to all glamorous world of red carpet. There was something magical about the material. Or maybe is it just something in human nature that we are subconsciously attracted by red carpet?




The designers found in a carpet manufacturer Desso a great partner for this collection. This Dutch company produced carpet without the usual rubber backing and also carpet with animal skin motifs, according to their words ‘shaved and laboriously hand-appliquéd carpet, which takes up to 300 hours per look to complete.’ The clothes were wrapped around body and a little bit resembled bath towels from afar. Dresses were accompanied by jewels and shoes made in the same style.




Collection was initially presented in Paris, obviously on the red carpet, followed by a rhythmic clapping song [Video]. This presentation is worth watching. Viktor&Rolf themselves describe this collection as ‘a meditation on a current obsession.’ Are we actually a society obsessed by a red carpet? Are we a red carpet culture?

I have never realised that such thing as a red carpet can have a rich history. It was first mentioned in the play called Agamemnon, written by Aeschylus in 458 BC. In this play, the main character returns home from Troy and is greeted by his wife who offers him a red path to walk upon. However, Agamemnon, knowing that only gods walk on such luxury refuses and says: ‘I am a mortal, a man; I cannot trample upon these tinted splendors without fear thrown in my path.’

People are no more afraid of walking on the red carpet. First of all, there were popes and heads of states. Red carpet marked the route they were taking on ceremonials and special occasions. Red carpet is now mainly associated and broadly used by celebrities and all VIPs glamour world. For those who are interested, exhausting and detailed history of red carpet is here. Bearing in mind Agamemnon’s story and the fact that red carpet is only for gods, I realised that maybe the basis is still the same but we changed our faith.

We can also consider the red carpet as the first marketing tool in the history of fashion. In the early decades of the 20th century there were the celebrities (actors and actresses, singers, dancers as well as members of noble families) who carried fashion impulses. Nowadays designers like to dress celebrities for red carpet events because their photos literally see the whole world. In this context we can understand Viktor&Rolf’s collection as a revolt against this trend.

Nowadays, the actual event may seem overshadowed by the red carpet. Just look at this video of Oscar preparation – workers rolling out the red carpet and a huge amount of photographers and media in place to depict that very moment.




It might be as well really stressful moment for celebrities in terms of perfectionism. All the world is watching every detail, manicure, hair, make-up, dresses, jewellery, manner of walking, everything. In the event of Emmy’s 2014, E magazine also prepared so called ‘clutch cam’ and ‘mani cam’ so the viewer could see every detail even closer. Walking the red carpet can actually be a nightmare. Celebrities might not eat for days or even weeks before the event. You can look at how many results you find when searching on google for ‘how to be red carpet ready’: tips on diets, workouts, pills and many many more.

We developed some kind of camouflage pattern for being invisible in the nature. Can we also be invisible on the red carpet? Viktor&Rolf dresses can represent one way of reaching invisibility but I searched for more examples where celebrities tried to disappear.




I think that Viktor&Rolf caught really well this current obsession. Suzy Menkes, Vogue fashion journalist, expressed it in a good way: ‘two brilliant minds catching a sociological thread.’ [x] I can only agree with her words. Red carpet represents a new value of our lives. If we think about the idiom ‘red carpet treatment’ I have one suggestion for future. Maybe we will have real red carpet treatments. Covering our body with red carpet for certain amount of time will cure illness and give back lost self-confidence.


Your life on a thread

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In the Boijmans Van Beuningen currently is an Exhibition called: The Future of Fashion is Now. One of the participates is Lara Torres.
Her work ‘an impossible wardrobe for the invisible’ takes part in the ‘New Values and New Stories’ part of the Exhibition.



About the part ‘New Values and New Stories’ the autor, Jose Teunissen, writes in the book of the exhibition: “Today’s designers are trying to recline and recalibrate the fashion system in a number of ways. The designers of the new generation are quick to criticise the fashion system, the compulsion to engage in overconsumption, and concepts such as brand identity a local identity, but they are also importing fashion with a new set of values. One important example is the Slow Fashion movement, whose goal is to render the fashion production system more transparent by using as many local materials as possible and by setting up a circular economy with direct lines running from producer to consumer. It is essential that the fashion product itself acquires a new, sustainable value so that its life extends beyond that of a single season.”

I underlined some words to make the connection to Torres reframing those words.
Overconsumption’ Her collection can only be worn once. What does that have to do with overconsumption? The waste can also be dissolved. And because of the dissolving there is a need for more clothes because you cannot wear the clothes again. Is ita good thing, to only wear clothes once?
Slow Fashion’. Her clothes dissolve slowly, but are gone forever. If it is connected to the ‘Slow Food’ movement, does it take long to make the clothes, are they worth the wait? Torres made such a fast disappearing collection, that the focus on a longer staying collection (not only one season) raises. And what about ‘Slow Design‘ movement in general. Is her work also an ongoing project? Comparing it to her previous work, maybe it is, maybe only for herself and not for her projects.
Transparent’. Her work is literally transparent when it is dissolved.
Direct lines’ She is using normal seams, so you could say that that’s literally, again, the direct lines of the producer to the consumer. You can see the way of using the seams by the producer.
Torres became interested in the relationship between clothing and memory. She wanted to approach fashion from a theoretical, artistic and investigative point of view.
She did research to make more transience, temporary clothing.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 20.39.35

For example her Effacing Series, a project she did before she started with an invisible wardrobe. With this new project Torres made a wardrobe collection, from a material that dissolves in water. So the clothes could only be worn one time. There is nothing ‘touchable’ left from what was made, only the photos and the videos.

The dissolving part was the part that took my attention. For me it was intriguing to see how people became half naked when they came in contact with water. Fragile. The naked truth.

And when I read more and more about what her meanings were behind the material, it became more interesting. First I wanted to do similar research on dissolving material and maybe even find dissolving ways to connect them (for example a dissolving threat). But when I figured it took Torres years of material research, I thought maybe not. Nowhere she did write or say what she used as a fabric. It dissolves, that’s why it is nowhere to be found, except in Torres’ mind.

When I was reading about the material I also bumped into her concept, unavoidable. In the beginning I was maybe  a little too focused, or intrigued, into the material and I didn’t have a good look on her concept. But after a while it got stuck in my head.

As an explanation to her works, she is talking about the loss of the object and the documentation of this loss. The action of effacing the clothes leaves a trace (the seams) translating a strong relation with memory and forgetfulness.
But how can you memorize an object, or even the loss from it. Do you get attached to it? In this case you do, the clothes are getting very close to your skin and in the end it is not ‘hiding’ your body anymore. Is that what clothing does for me? Does it hide my body, or are they showing my body? I don’t know.
There is a very subtle line between hiding or showing although they are an opposite. In one way you hide what you want to show in private. Do you?
When we put on our clothes in the morning (or any time) we feel our clothes, but after a while, we are not aware anymore that we are wearing clothes. Habituation they call it in behavioral science. How can you remember clothes if you are forgetting that you are wearing them? You do remember the itchy Christmas hand-made sweater from your grandma. Do you remember the itchiness or the sweater, or that you thought it was itchy. In other words: Does your body remember it, the same way that your body remembers how to walk, or does your mind remembers it?


‘When the fabrics have dissolved, all that remains are the seams and the memories of the clothing.’  Did She write  in the Exhibition book about her work.
Can the seams be seen as a red thread of life? The continuing of life and the route it takes. Because when the water ‘attacks’ the clothes the seams are creating their ‘natural’ way to stay on the body. Is this how the water attacks us, human beings, because we don’t take enough care of the world. Does it have to do anything with the global warming? Our fight against water, which is also one of the main reasons we are alive?
Or can the remaining of the seams be seen as the memory of the edges of pain, or the edges of luck. Are the containing threads only there to give a suggestion of what was before, what happened? We remember only the outline of our memory. A friendship for example, we only remember the fights, the getting back together, but most of the things you did together you forget. Because they were ‘normal’ like having tea a hundred times, you will only remember at most five of the tea parties.
The seams are on the other hand also sticking how they were suppose to be, in other words, the seams are still holding the knots Torres used in designing her wardrobe. They are staying like they are supposed to stay. And then I am coming back to the literal interpretation of the ‘direct lines’ and the ‘transparency’. Because of the visual seams we can see the handwork of Torres. And with that she makes a very clear line between consumer and herself as a producer.

The invisible fashion

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I am not really into fashion so I didn’t know what to expect during the exhibition and even by looking at the website of The Future of Fashion is Now I had no clue whether I am gonna appreciate this kind of art or not. My fondness for Adele Varcoe started when I visited the exhibition. It was divided into 3 parts and it was the last one which seemed to me totally unclear and thereby intriguing. Ironically it was precisely this part –New Values and New Stories– in which I found this  amazing artist who is taking fashion into a higher level, looking at it not only as an outfit but more as a factor indicating our behavior.

Adele Varcoe is an Australian artist. She is not strictly a fashion designer but her works are directly lined with fashion. She is creating experiences which are suppose to show the social effects on clothing. Adele is mostly constructing group performances in which she brings people together in order to explore the elusive nature of fashion. She wants to outline the sense of self which is heightened through the clothes.

Imagine Chanel

While making her performances she likes to mix the participants, working with artists, models but whats mostly important with the public. She is interested in revealing how fashion influences the interactions and relations between people. Adele often uses the quote “perception of dress” which in her opinion is the subconscious behavior of the society depending on what we wear and in what situation we are.

The performance which I saw in the Boijmans exhibit and which invited me to learn more about Adele Varcoe was the salon fashion show Imagine Chanel. It was in 2012 when she came up with the idea of presenting fashion experience through language. She used the descriptions of garments from 1920s till 1960s Chanel archive at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Powerhouse Museum as material to reveal the role which our imagination plays in looking at fashion. The main goal of this performance was to highlight that fashion is not something that exists as dress only. The fashion show is led by a woman reading the descriptions of Chanel outfits while nude women circle between the audience acting as they were wearing all the precious, described cloths. This situation gives the audience a broad field where by using their imagination they can design their own clothes worn by the models.


Adele’s concept is based on the professional opinion of a sociologist Yaniya Kawamura [x] who claims that : “Fashion does provide extra added values to clothing, but the additional elements exist only in peoples imagination and beliefs. Fashion is not visual clothing but is the invisible elements included in clothing”.

Here comes the link between her work and the name of the third section of the exhibition: New Values and New Stories. I am really fascinated by her way of thinking. It looks like if she is taking a broad working space which is fashion and approaching it from a totally unconventional side. I think the point of conceptual art is to influence the audience and show them something which is not obvious. Working with subconscious behavior and reactions upon “invisible fashion”, Varcoe is putting new values to clothing which is actually our second skin changing our behavior and social interactions.

Each of her works is often closely connected to the broad area of fashion sociology. It is claimed that in fact, fashion is not about clothing but more about the basic process that propels modern life, and it is the outfit which structures the psycho-social development of a modern person.

A similar  concept was to be seen in Varcoe’s other exhibit in the Boijmans Museum called ” Feeling of undress”. This movie was even less about fashion itself but more about the social behaviour and human interactions.

Some other sociologist like Georg Simmel states; ..” that fashion refers to a general phenomenon, in which it becomes a type of social horizon point where the individual interest and taste comes across the collective”. He once wrote “Fashion represents nothing more than one of the many forms of life by the aid of which we seek to combine . . . the tendency toward social equality with the desire for individual differentiation and change”.

I think after experiencing her art or being part of it, we start to realize some behaviors and actions which are natural for us but we can never see them consciously. Varcole gives us an opportunity to set aside our subconscious actions and observe how the natural behavior is chaining depending on what situation we are in.

I think the most interesting part of being an artist is to use your creativity and open minded thinking to show the audience something new, in this case something totally normal but not realized in everyday live. I think its also interesting how she links the scientific knowledge in the area of sociology to play with the human mind and gives people the opportunity to experience and then realize the way of human behaviors by taking part in her art performances.

Thoughts on Lucy + Jorge Orta

Friday, November 21, 2014


Nexus Architecture


The Human Centipede (2)


At the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s The Future of Fashion is Now (Fashion, Activism, Community and Politics), Lucy + Jorge Orta showed their work Nexus Architecture x 25 – Nexus Type Opera.tion. In Nexus Architecture (2001) they zip together the clothes of a group of volunteers. The idea is to depict the loss of individuality in a cluster of social relationships. We are all connected; “Each individual keeps an eye on, and protects, the other. One individual’s life depends on the life of the other. The warmth of one gives warmth to the other. The physical link weaves a social link.” I refer Nexus Architecture to the horror film The Human Centipede by Tom Six. ‘’A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a group of people in order to reassemble them into a human centipede, created by stitching their mouths to each others’ rectums.’’ The victims basically have to wear each other to survive, of course an extreme version of “Each individual keeps an eye on, and protects, the other. One individual’s life depends on the life of the other. The warmth of one gives warmth to the other. The physical link weaves a social link’’.


Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 20.43.57Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 20.46.44Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 20.44.17Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 20.44.30


Nexus (which means link or tie) Architecture is a symbolic work which I find to be a shame as there are examples of functioning clothes which actually do realize bond and equality, for example school uniforms. I wore a school uniform as a child and my experience was that wearing a uniform built team spirit and unified. Also prevented the pressure of having to have status symbols such as branded clothes and thereby made the economical differences less visible in school. However I did feel a lack of freedom to express myself. Other areas where uniforms are used is for example in the military, prison, finance and sports. The idea is that if you are wearing the same uniform you are friends and you help each other. But even if we wear the same fabric and colors we are not always friends and we do not always help each other. To tell how the world works Orta metaphorically connected the uniforms physically (what happens to me will happen to you) which automatically also becomes literal. The work is executed in a bold and direct way which I do admire. The doubts I have about the work not being applied to people in a direct (functioning) way may depend on the way it is presented…


At Boijmans Van Beuningen’s Nexus Architecture was presented as an installation. But during performances, Orta gives the participants commands, setting the whole group in motion, ‘’emphasizing the loss of humanity within the collective’’. Depending on the participants engagement in following the task it can either be or not be a working organism. I believe that Orta is not making a political statement but rather questioning the political ideology of today and the future. Maybe the importance of both communism and capitalism, the group and the individual.


In general I was fascinated by the room of Activism, Community and Politics in the The Future of Fashion is Now exhibition because I respect artists like Orta who try to break down and deal with these large and relevant questions. I have to make 10 designs on the subject Ebola for design class which is a subject far from my control, and to me it is a motivation to see how Orta can manage similar matters. Orta has an optimistic approach in both content and aesthetic. But I can not help but question if the work of Orta maybe is too playful? I feel slightly split about the fact that world issues are ”anesthetized” when artists take them on. As the beauty overshadows the message but at the same time maybe this is necessary when wanting to communicate to the western world. It is a paradox. In any case I think that it is couregous to deal with such serious matters. Later on one can argue if a work is successful or not, if the artist does harm or good. I may be cynical but it is hard for me to understand the motive of why Orta has cared for the complex of global problems such as the ecological environment/global warming, sexism, refuge and immigration policy, the hostility towards the Romani people, the biomedical ethics of organ donation and homelessness as these subjects differ so much from each other. But then again it is arguable that a team of two artists do not share the same mind and therefore bring different issues to the table. Anyway Orta has surely succeeded in raising some of  the spectators awareness or opinion as I have just written a text about this.

The London Supplementary Design Show

Friday, November 1, 2013






17 Rietveld Foundation Year students visited London in the first week of October 2013 where they composed their own London collection of design highlights.

Items were selected from the collections of many renown institutes like the British museum, Victoria & Albert, The Design museum, Off-site ICA or galleries (The White Chapel, Ravenrow etc…..). What is interesting for us? What do we like and why.

Previous to this trip we did visit the permanent design presentation in the Amsterdam Stedelijkmuseum. Compared to the items we selected and researched there [project: Design in the Stedelijk-3], this show presents a personal comparison between that and those of the London institutes.

If you click on them a caption will appear –just as a in a real museum– presenting information and a personal reflection on why that item was selected.
Researching contemporary design we present this “The London Supplementary Design Show” as a mirror of our own selection motives, an imaginary online exhibition space with items carefully selected for you.

click on images to visit the exhibit


Spira-Ribb Westwood_T-shirt

no_angle_no_poise_tiagodafonseca_2 ChloeMeineck_music-memory-box GatewayRouter_redu


Samoerai-armor Sottsas_London_Item_LeftSottsas_London_Item_Right RavenRow_poster_tadanori-yokoo

MarjorieSchick material 3d printer

selected by Wiebe Bouwsema WillyBrown_redu TrojanColumn_VAA G_Force_Cyclonic_James_Dyson


Woman of the Shreds

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My thesis “Aufarbeitung” [reprocessing] is based on a historical research on the influence of economical and political crises on fashion and clothing production from a German perspective, says Verena Michels (fashion graduate 2013). My investigation aimed at finding answers on “how can I be a pro-active designer in the current crises and turn shortcomings into innovation? This theoretical research was the starting point for my garment collection.


photo's Peter Stigter


trummerfrauen The icon of my collection is the so called “Truemmerfrau” (woman of the shreds): former housewives who were empowered and emancipated through physical labour in post-war Germany during the years of restoration. It was a period of hardship and material-, clothes-, and food shortcomings that encouraged black market and innovation through necessity.
When comparing that situation to our current crisis, I find a paradox: the European financial crisis is characterised not by a shortcoming but by an overload of materials, clothes and food, and what we lack are values, work ethics and a definition of what defines quality in times of mass production and over-consumption.
I decided to look for the answer by researching “material”. After experimenting with dust, lint and fabric leftovers, I chose wool as my main material. It is a highly relevant material for me because of its rawness, because it comes directly from nature (sheep, alpaca, goat), protects our body, keeps us warm, and doesn’t need to be washed. I decided to use wool in a non-conventional way, and put it in a context other than knitting.

COVER Rosemarie Trockel wool painting
Rosemarie Trockel wool on canvas, Dark Threat 2 2010, Syz Collection

Inspired by the wool paintings of German artist Rosemarie Trockel who transferred wool from the female household to established art galleries, I developed a new textile. This material is flat, structured, and requires only the exact amount of yarn without waste. It can be produced at home with a household sewing machine. The simplicity of the technique allows me to share it with friends and to collaborate. This can be a relevant starting point for making production communal and local again. I see it as a contemporary translation of the post-war DIY culture and hope my idea inspires others.

Screen shot 2013-08-08 at 12.13.23 PM

photo by Lutz Bauman

My collection book is an archive of visual research, notes and ideas, documentation of material and form research. It includes two chapters of my thesis and a photo series of the end results. The photo shoot took place at KOBOR, the wool store of Koos Koopman who buys yarns from bankrupt companies or factories that produced too much, and sells it at a fair price.

text by Verena Michels [graduate student department of Fashion] : more


Download her collection book ”Treummerfrau“, [woman of the shreds]

Pdf-icon Download the thesis: ”Aufarbeitung“, [recollection]

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